Long, hot roads and ‘The GP-X Files’
21 June 2016
First day of summer for we who live in the Northern Hemisphere. The day was the hottest yet and no clouds for the whole day.
The day started clear, bright and hot from the start. I followed the arrows, and was soon on a forest track. “Wonderful” I thought – but it lasted just a few hundred metres.
I do not have many photos to show you. The route jiggled around the N1’s route.
It wove through many little villages and one very modern, deserted sports complex in the middle of the countryside. Acadia, Arcos (where an old guy on a bike stopped to harangue me – as he did with everyone he passed), Alféloas (where I had a Coca-Cola and a chat with a French mother and daughter team running a small bar). The scenery was not great today, but the people were….
The temperature logged 36.8°C. Along the roads, there were few trees and little shade. I crossed to walk under whatever shade I could find. I also took a break and a Coke in every village bar. It was the only way to survive.
There are some lovely, well maintained chapels along the route.
I saw my first pilgrims today!!! They were on bikes and just shouted ‘Bom Caminho’ to me, but seeing other pilgrims has been as difficult as finding Life on Mars or the Higgs Boson. This was a great day and I remind myself that I am not alone. However nother walker would be nice to talk to from time-to-time as motivating oneself for repeated days of silent walking is not easy.
A word of caution also to any who follow me. Some roads are VERY narrow, and the sides cut from the rock. Be very careful.
Towards the end of my walk today, I walked through the very pleasant town of Agueda. The name seems to imply water, and it is set on a wide, slow river. It is entered through a park, which is a brief respite from the incessant tarmac.
Today my final distance was 37.99km – according to my trusty Garmin (ETrex 35T). My route at the start however showed just 27.73km….! I would not have set up any day for this distance. My legs are telling me however that my logged distance is probably correct. I realise now that the GPX files sent to me by an earlier pilgrim have two basic flaws.
1 – they follow a route which the arrows do not follow _ and –
2 – where they do coincide, the accuracy in the GPX route following around curves, which it tends to approximate to straight lines is not great. This was an aspect of old GPS units that they could not accommodate many ‘waypoints’ on a route. As a result, I shall be cleaning up my files and offering them to anyone who wants them for their Camino Português.
There is so much coverage of Brexit on the news. I get the impression here that while many are frightened of the hole left in the EU budget if the UK leaves, many more would like Portugal to do the same. My poll is based on just a handful of conversations, but they all seem to show the same ideas. Friday will be interesting…
I am In a small motel in Mourisca Vouga called Castro. It is in a rundown industrial area and not a great looking venue. I walked 500m to eat at a fish restaurant last night. It was OK, but not great and it was expensive. However – there is a MacDonalds just 200m away, and I feel the temptation to eat a Sausage-and-Egg McMuffin tomorrow.